[Solitary flower at Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo: Michael Levine-Clark] Colorado is a state where you would think the mental health of its residents would be high, but you would be sadly mistaken. It seems a lot of us Coloradoans may be overlooking our mental wellbeing.
In 2018, Mental Health America ranked Colorado as 43rd in the states for best mental health, so 42 above us. Denver Public Health found that one in eight of its residents are suffering from clinical depression. Out of 50 states and Washington D.C. (51 total):
- Overall Ranking – 43rd
- Adult Ranking – 40th
- Youth Ranking – 48th
- Prevalence of Mental Illness – 49th
- Access to Care Ranking – 17th
What gives? Let’s find out.
Seek Out The Help You Need
With Colorado ranked 49th out of 51 for prevalence of mental illness, there are a lot of people who need help. At least the access to care scores higher at 17th, although it can still be difficult utilizing it. If you know you already need help, you should definitely seek it out. If you’re suffering from severe depression, anxiety, or need life advice, online therapy can help.
It’s becoming harder for us to get the help we need, but luckily, there are sites like ReGain that can make it a whole lot easier. Whether you need help for depression, are dealing with divorce, or need help while you’re at the coffee shop, Regain can help.
This happens everywhere, but the stigma for mental health seems to be prevalent in Colorado. What is the mental health stigma? While talking about your mental health and seeking help for your problems have become more normalized, some people still act like you’re faking it, are seeking attention, or are making excuses. It’s hard for others to empathize with you when you don’t show any signs of illness.
Luckily, this is getting better, but for many, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Kid/Teen Substance Abuse is Growing
The amount of teens and children who are abusing substances is growing. While many teens are going to try alcohol or another drug, becoming dependent on it at a young age can lead to addiction and a slew of mental health problems. A teen’s brain is still in development, and by taking a substance while they’re young, it can affect the development quite a bit.
Alcohol and other drugs appear to be on the rise. Interestingly enough, cannabis use is on the decline despite its legality.
However, Access to Mental Health Care is Decent
When it comes to negative mental health statistics, one of the biggest reasons is usually that people just don’t have access to mental healthcare. Maybe their insurance doesn’t afford it, or there are no free or low-budget treatment options.
Interestingly enough, Colorado is 17th in mental health access. Yes, we could be doing better, but we are in the higher half. For insurance carries, Colorado ranks 8th, which is quite good. The problem is that many people just don’t want to get the care they need. Perhaps it’s due to the stigma, or they feel like they will be judged or put on medication they don’t want.
Therapy doesn’t have to involve medication, and a therapist will not judge you. They have probably seen a lot worse than your situation. Do not be afraid to see a therapist just because you’re afraid of being judged.
Remember, Strong Mental Health Starts Early
If you have kids, how you raise them can impact their mental health down the road. If you want to take care of them, there are many ways you can do so. Buy them toys that can stimulate their minds. Let them explore ambitions and don’t be too harsh. For other parenting tips and products to help your child, do some research on a site like FamilyHype or SheKnows for you to get started.
Colorado has a lot of work to do when it comes to mental health, and there as a citizen, the change begins with you. Help someone in need. Get your own help if you are suffering. Read over our advice for dealing with seasonal affective disorder, which is severe winter blues. We all can do this together and improve our mental health crisis.